In Colossians 1:9-14 Apostle Paul is writing in his letter to the Colossian Christians that he is praying for them. He qualifies his praying by telling them that he does not “cease to pray” for them. He probably also prayed for others and other things, but for this group he is taking serious time out of his life to pray! It is a prayer that could be understood as continuous, repetitive, freakwent, constantly on your mind. Why? Why does he love them so much? Why does he invest so much of his life into them? We know he tells the Christians in Philippi that he thanks God for them whenever he prays. Nothing about a prayer for the Galatians, just plain reprimand for their confused attitude to faith and practice. But for the Colossians, he goes out of the way in prayer.
Pray for those who do whats right
When we were a young married couple and had our two small sons (8 months and 2.5 years), we moved to Sydney, Australia. Our ministry was to represent and to raise support for the underground church in the former USSR. It was a challenge for us to start that ministry from a scratch. We barely spoke English; we knew literally no one; it was a different culture; different laws of the land; Christians behaved differently and had a different piety about them; where do you live, shop, go to church, make friends, take your kids to school, … and many more questions.
In retrospect I am convinced that we were divinely guided to connect to amazing people, skillful and plain geniuses. The right people with the right connections and the right answers appeared in our daily life at the right moment. In a short time, we witnessed an amazing growth of the ministry, but also a great growth in us personally, through the influence of the characters that came into our lives. But, it was not ease! It was hard, and we struggled, cried, prayed, asked, sought and knocked on many doors.
One of my jobs was in a Christian Publishing House (we did support our selves through jobs, and used all the donations strictly for the mission projects) the company owner was a fine Christian leader. In one of our conversations, he said: “Australia is a tough country and only tough people survive. We like to see you struggle.” What? Is it christian?
An elderly couple from the Russian church we attended from time to time said: “We had it not easy fleeing the Russian revolution, through China, and then starting here from nothing. Why should you have it easy?” What?
I asked a pastor to join the board of directors of the mission organization I was starting. His responds: “I don’t see that you know what you want. I do not see you investing yourself all into these.” What?
The Choice to struggle
Now I could have a choice to feel insulted, misunderstood, discriminated and unjustly treated. Did they understand where I came from? This was microaggression Christian style. Do they know how we suffered and were persecuted for our faith?
But then this was honest, straightforward Christian love! They actually, no one of them, backed away and left us alone. They just did not wanna support someone who would expect something for nothing. Lazy, entitled. A takers mentality was amiss here. They never, even later on, throughout our 10 years in Australia spared a tough word or a correction.
These tough characters became the best long-lasting friends and supporters for us personally and for the ministry. They found us jobs, connections, furniture, paid for our retreats, supported us financially, paid part of our rent, looked after our kids, arranged an office for the mission, and much more.
We as a young couple chose to adjust to the new a reality. To learn new ways and seeing the beauty of the “down to earth” Australian Christianity. We were learning of not giving up in the face of perceived opposition. To struggle through seemingly impossible odds.
The evidence of struggles.
The Apostle Paul hears that the Christians in Collosea take the Faith seriously. They are not l, weak, doubting, sin-loving pretenders of Christians. No, they are full in! Paul has a list off why he loves and prayers for them. Things that they did:
- They had faith in Christ Jesus
- They loved other Christians in a practical way
- Their motivation was the heavenly rewards that are awaited them
- They heard the Gospel and accepted it
- They understood the Gospel
- They had “fruits” or evidence in their lives that they have heard and understood the Gospel.
With other words, they have “earned” his attention! They deserve his special investment of time, prayer, and love. They are already winning in life and he is jeering them on to achieve more. That’s why he is praying for them!
These are the things he prayers that God gives them:
- Knowledge – So that they are filled with the Knowledge of God’s Will. This can come only through two things: Wisdom and Spiritual understanding.
- Walk – A lifestyle worthy of the Lord. This is evident in: Pleasing God; Being “fruitful” in good works; and in increasing in the Knowledge of God.
- Strength – That the power and Might of God gives them strength for patience and longsuffering with joy.
- Thankfulness – …
I am asking myself what type of a steward of time and life I have to be? Life is shorter then we think. Just this week the world mourns a great man of God, Billy Graham, changing his address from earthly into the heavenly. A man I went hunting with is dying of cancer. A Russian acquaintance from my town just passed away. He recently accepted Jesus as his savior!
So, life is shorter then I think. Do I “waste” time praying for “losers”? Do I just reprimand them and let them take personal responsibility for their life? Is it not more wiser to invest time and prayers into “good” people and see them to become great? There are so many who claim to be Christians and who show NO effort of doing their best!
What do you think?